My preference would be to know what price I'm being charged before I respond. It should be a set fee no matter the type of request as well. That would make things much easier. There is never enough detail in the email I receive and I may not bid because I think it's not a good one to bid on. I have yet to get hired from a post and just got charged for one this weekend that ended up being an emergency call. I have lots of ideas as to how this site could be improved and considering leaving because of the waste of time in receiving the bids for things I don't do. I would be happy to talk with you if you want to hear my thoughts.
Of late, I've had two responses to quotes that turned out to be flaky people who never followed through. I did my part, and yet I lost money on the deal. It's hard for me to pay $13 or $14 just because someone reached out to ask if my rate was hourly or monthly. If this isn't obvious enough, it is stated clearly in the quote. Then, when they find out that the price is higher than they'd like to pay, they ghost. I feel like the current system is crippling my business, and it makes me less likely to use Thumbtack for my marketing needs.
Thumbtack was much better when I started using it and it functioned with a credit system. You knew up front exactly how much you would be paying to send a quote, and it was never more than a few dollars. It is absolutely absurd that now I cannot know how much a quote will cost, and that I might get charged as much as $25-30 for a $200 gig; it adds an unnecessary level of confusion and frustration to my work. I would consider no more than 5% of my total fee either split between me and the customer or paid entirely by the customer to be a fair price for a quote IF THE GIG IS BOOKED. This is how services like Gigsalad work, and it’s fantastic because then it becomes in both my and the booking service’s best interests for me to not just receive responses from potential clients, but to actually book as many gigs as possible. If I get the gig through your service, I’m more than happy to pay a small booking fee as long as I know ahead of time exactly what that will be. If I don’t get the gig and you still charge me, I feel cheated and am less likely to pursue work through your service in the future.